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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 January 2008, 11:57 GMT
Father sad at Deepcut 'closure'
Deepcut barracks
An announcement on the future of Deepcut is expected soon
The father of one of four recruits who died at Deepcut army barracks has said he is sad to hear reports it is to be demolished to make way for housing.

Geoff Gray, whose son Pte Geoff Gray, died in 2001, said an "awful lot of work" had been done at the Surrey training base since the four deaths.

Deepcut and other bases have been under review and a further statement is expected in Parliament later this week.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it could not pre-empt a statement to MPs.

Mr Gray said Deepcut, the main training centre for the Royal Logistics Corps, was now "probably one of the best training establishments in the country".

"If you had asked me last year I would have said the place should be burnt down," Mr Gray told BBC Radio Five Live.

With all the problems in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is the wrong time to announce that Deepcut is closing
Terry Dicks, Surrey county councillor

"But I have talked with the commanding officer, the regimental sergeant major and the WRVS over the last year and it is a very well run place at the moment.

"It is well staffed, well supervised and the recruits have plenty to do."

The four soldiers who died at Deepcut between 1995 and 2002 were: Pte Sean Benton, 20, from Hastings, East Sussex; Pte Cheryl James, 18, from Llangollen, north Wales; Pte James Collinson, 17, from Perth, Scotland; and Pte Gray, 17, from Seaham, County Durham.

They all died from gunshot wounds.

Inquests into the deaths recorded a verdict of suicide in Pte Benton's case and open verdicts for the other three.

An independent review of the deaths, conducted by Nicholas Blake QC, concluded in March 2006 that the deaths probably were self-inflicted.

But Mr Blake criticised army training, citing "harassment, discrimination and oppressive behaviour".

The families of the four soldiers have always wanted a public inquiry.

The four Deepcut victims
Four soldiers died at Deepcut barracks from gunshot wounds

Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove says on his website he was told by Defence Minister Derek Twigg in October that Deepcut would remain in use for training until at least 2014.

There was a possibility it would stay open for a further three years after that.

Surrey county councillor Terry Dicks told the BBC now was the wrong time to be closing army training bases.

"With all the problems in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is the wrong time to announce that Deepcut is closing.

"We are not particularly short of housing in Surrey, unless the MoD just wants money."

An MoD spokesman said: "There is an on-going review aimed at maximising defence training outputs, but we cannot pre-empt any statements that ministers might make in due course to Parliament."



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